Police: Plattsburgh man intentionally set himself on fire
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. -
Catherine Gates says her neighbor has talked about burning his side of their duplex trailer down for the past week.
"He said I'm going to torch it," Gates said. "I didn't take him seriously. Who the hell, who is going to believe somebody would snap like that and do that?"
She says Daniel Burke has been noticeably agitated lately due to a number of personal issues, including a recent arrest on child sex abuse allegations.
"He promised me he would never do anything to hurt me or make me lose my home," Gates said.
But Burke's problems got worse Wednesday evening when he was arrested for alleged drunk driving downtown. He was processed at the station. A friend brought him to his home on Charles Way. Shortly after, a neighbor called police claiming they heard Burke breaking glass.
"They went to that location; they could see Mr. Burke inside the trailer. They tried to get him at the door, they knocked, he turned the lights off and then the officers could see flames," Plattsburgh Police Lt. Pat Rascoe said.
Two officers then forced their way into the home. They fought off the smoke and flames in an effort to locate Burke. They found him in his bedroom and on fire. They then dragged him outside.
"They were able to roll him on the ground and put out the flames on his body," Rascoe said.
Seconds later the home burst into flames. Police believe it had been doused with a flammable liquid. The fire was so intense it ignited part of a neighboring trailer and melted the siding on another home. Burke is hospitalized with first- and second-degree burns over half of his body. Four police officers were treated for smoke inhalation.
"I'm going to get through it; I'll get back on my feet," Gates said.
The fire left Gates homeless. Her side of the duplex was severely damaged, too. She's just grateful to have escaped with her pets and a few personal belongings.
"All of a sudden I'm homeless," Gates said. "I'm going to be 59 years old, I should not be homeless."
The Red Cross is finding her temporary shelter.
Once Burke recovers from his burns, police expect to charge him with arson.
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:33 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:33:15 GMT
Police say two people found dead at a home in Stowe are believed to have died in a murder-suicide. Police are still not releasing their names or the cause of death, but they say the victims are adults. StoweMore >>
Police say two people found dead at a home in Stowe are believed to have died in a murder-suicide.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 11:26 AM EDT2014-04-17 15:26:34 GMT
A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to...More >>
A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to 12 months.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:05:16 GMT
A teenager has been arrested for making a bomb threat in St. Albans. Police say the threat was made to Project SOAR, an alternative school, Wednesday morning. The building was searched and no bomb wasMore >>
Police say a teenager has been arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat to an alternative school in St. Albans.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:05:01 GMT
A missing elderly woman from Rutland has been found safe in Burlington. Police say Grace Maddaloni, 88, disappeared Wednesday after what they called a "disagreement." Because of her age and being in theMore >>
A missing elderly woman from Rutland has been found safe in Burlington.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:04 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:04:45 GMT
Darn Tough appears to be making a darn good profit. The high-end sock manufacturer out of Northfield reports the first quarter of this year was its best ever, with revenues up almost 80 percent over theMore >>
Vermont sock manufacturer Darn Tough reports the first quarter of this year was its best ever.More >>